Chinese Qing official vs. Japanese Meiji

Much have been told about the historical background of China and Japan, particularly on the part of their history that the Western powers intruded their land.

Also, versions have been aired countless times on who really had the best policy or the best response towards the invasion of the Western powers. China claimed they are. Japan claimed they are.

The debate below is hypothetically set after the Opium War when China was again subjected to Western subjugation while claiming that they had the best response towards Western invasion. Japan, on the other hand, claims the same thing.

Opium War

During about 1830s, the Chinese government exerted much effort in halting the illegal smuggling of opium products by the Western, particularly the British. Apart from the unhealthy effects of opium smoking among the Chinese, there was a considerably economic damage that happened mainly caused by the “drainage of cash silver” from China to be paid for the illegal imports[1].

The trades strived for a long time as millions and millions among the Chinese (simultaneous with the corruption among custom officials) got addicted to the illegal imported product. In 1838, the Chinese emperor finally did something for the illegal trade to stop—or to try to stop, at least.

Given the situation, the emperor had no choice but to resort in to some sort of repression and suppression among the people of China. The emperor ordered summary executions of Chinese drug traffickers.

But then, the British government still allowed the importation of the “addictive” and illegal products. The situation made the ire the Chinese government and resorted to the evil at

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its roots. It was during the time of Lin Tse-hsu, the special Imperial Commissioner

when the rage heated up.  The Opium War was just an introduction into more complicated events that came.

Below are the hypothetical claims of both China and Japan of which of them employed or implemented the best response or policy towards the Western invasion after the Opium War while their country faced the threat of further invasion.

Letter to Japanese Meiji (from a Chinese Qing Official)

ATTENTION: MEIJI EMPEROR OF JAPAN

This letter is intended to be read by any Japanese Meiji official. This is to manifest that it was China, particularly us, the Qing dynasty who did the best response towards the Western invasion after the Opium War.

I am writing this letter not just to boast but to put everything in place.

China has been described by some historical accounts as a country which has been found to have a string of “humiliating defeats.” This speaks very well on the part of the history timeline when Japan and the Western powers claimed victory over the domination of some parts of China.

And I think it is about time to correct what has been said against China although some people do not consider history as an important matter.

In terms of international strategy and ideal response, I can proudly claim that the Qing emperor’s response or policy was the best way against the Western invasion.

The Qing emperor was determined to maintain the autonomy of China and to protect China from further invasions especially of the Western powers. Also in the nineteenth century, China experiences setbacks in it economy. In the same time period, China trading

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system was monopolized by the Portuguese and then Spanish, French, and British traders followed the trend. [2]

China stood firm against further invasion, so in the trading system, the West was pushed to follow certain trading guidelines which were centuries-old guidelines imposed by the Chinese.

[1] Ha, Zhang. “Understand and Treat with Historical Issues Correctly”.  2005. April 14 2007. <http://jds.cass.cn/english/20051030094729.asp>.

[2] Chinese Repository. Vol. 8, February 1840.